Good morning! Ugh! We've had internet issues the past few days so I hadn't been able to get this post up. I'm sure after me taking a break last week and then me still being absent yesterday, a normal post day, that you were wondering where I was. Well, I'm still here!
I finally went ahead and bought Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I read it and her follow-up book Spark Joy this month. There are definitely bits of wisdom in both of her books and they are starting to help me change my mentality toward all of our “stuff” and clutter. There were also some things that I haven’t completely bought into as far as her method goes.
Marie Kondo is a professional organizer from Japan that has created what she calls the KonMari method of tidying (decluttering). She promises that if you commit to the KonMari method that you will never have to declutter your home again. It was this promise that got me interested in the book. Never having to declutter again?! Sign me up!
In the KonMari method, you declutter and get rid of things by category instead of by room and she even has the order of which you should follow for the method to work. The biggest problem I see with decluttering this way is that I don’t know that it is a method that can be carried out by most Americans. We live in MUCH bigger houses than most in Japan. We have garages and outbuildings (if you live in rural or suburban areas). My house is 3,000+ square feet. That is a lot of space for things to be strewn about, especially when you get down to “komono” which are the miscellaneous items we all have that include things like markers and pens. How in the world can I find every marker and pen in my house at one time?! Thus my problem with clutter.
The other issue I have with the KonMari method is that Kondo believes that our things have feelings. I don’t know that I believe a pen cares whether or not I use it, but she does. In many of her storage solutions, she takes these feelings into account. Take socks for example. Kondo says that you should never ball up your socks and toss them in your drawer because they already work so hard for you on your feet and that balling them up does not allow them the rest they need in order to continue to work hard for you. Hmmmm…….
Despite these things, I’m still going to try to follow much of what Kondo discusses in her book because I simply want a less cluttered house. Many people would say that my house is not cluttered, and, comparatively, it probably is not. But let me share the honest truth with you….I’m lazy. I like to sit and binge watch Netflix. I want to be able to read all Sunday afternoon without feeling guilty (or like my house is going to swallow me whole). My husband and I are big into trying to take the best care of the things we own. This means time doing maintenance and the costs of maintaining. If I can declutter and purge items we don’t need, this would free up time and money to do other things. I have a hard time letting a messy house go (for more than a day or two at least), so less stuff means more time for the important and fun things to me.
“Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination.” –The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up page 21
This month I was able to complete the tidying of my clothes (only my clothes not my husband’s or kids’). Kondo says that you need to put EVERY SINGLE PIECE of clothing you own out on the floor or on your bed to start. Then you are to pick up each piece individually and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” Kondo believes that you shouldn’t own anything that doesn’t have a strict purpose or that doesn’t spark joy inside of you when you see it. I didn’t keep count of how many items I got rid of, but I do know that my closet is MUCH lighter and I have two empty drawers now. I didn’t follow her advice completely about how to fold things, but I do think that I will try to at least fold my t-shirts using her method. And I continue to ask myself, “Does this still spark joy?” as I’m putting away laundry and a few more items have made their way to the yard sale pile.
“As you reduce your belongings through the process of tidying, you will come to a point where you suddenly know how much is just right for you.” –The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up page 124
I love that the KonMari method is about joy and not about the amount of things you own. She doesn’t say, “If you haven’t worn something in three months then discard it.” She doesn’t give you a magic number of books to own. Every person is different so the amount of things they own will be different. Some people will be content with ten shirts and a hundred books. Others will want twenty-five shirts and no books. The KonMari process is about learning who you are and what makes you happy and only owning those things. The things that don’t spark joy are the things that make up clutter for each individual.
“Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first.” –The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up page 28
Another component of the KonMari method is to not find storage solutions for your items until you have completed the tidying (decluttering) process. She says that until you know exactly what you are keeping, you don’t know what you need or where things should go. This has been hard for me as I love all of the pretty organization on Pinterest!
“Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding.” –The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up page 35
After reading Tidying Up, I realized that the KonMari method is not something that can truly completed in a month, so I’m going to continue working my way through the list as the year goes on. I have taken things that I know I don’t want any more downstairs to my yard sale pile as I’ve seen them, which may make the process faster as I go through the KonMari list. I’m also really glad that I didn’t start with the tidying process until after the follow-up book, Spark Joy, was released. This was by accident, but it turned out to be a happy accident.
Come back tomorrow to see why I think you need to get the two books together!
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